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Performance Review Q&A and Videos

About Performance Review

This is an absolutely vital process for any employee in tech to understand, especially in a world of stack-ranking and layoffs.

Explain day-to-day operations and decision-making in Meta

Staff Software Engineer [E6] at Meta profile pic
Staff Software Engineer [E6] at Meta

What is the prevailing culture within the organization, and how does it manifest in day-to-day operations and decision-making? The prevailing culture within an organization is the shared values, beliefs, norms, and practices that shape the social and psychological environment of a business. This culture influences employee behavior, motivates management styles, and affects decision-making processes. What are those for Meta?

What are the hidden things to notice and to worry about? For example:

  1. Cliques and Silos: Pay attention to the formation of exclusive groups or departments unwilling to share information. This can indicate a fragmented culture that hinders collaboration.

  2. Resistance to Change: If there is noticeable resistance to new ideas or changes in procedure, the culture may be rigid and resistant to innovation.

  3. Overwork and Burnout: A culture that consistently expects long hours and overwork may prioritize short-term gains over long-term employee well-being and sustainability.

  4. Turnover Rates: High employee turnover can be a red flag for issues within the organizational culture such as lack of growth opportunities, poor management, or a toxic work environment.

  5. Office Politics: Pay attention to how much politics influence decisions and progress. A culture heavily influenced by politics rather than merit can demotivate employees.

  6. Feedback Mechanisms: Lack of mechanisms for providing constructive feedback, or a culture where feedback is ignored, can indicate a culture not open to self-improvement or employee development.

  7. Diversity and Inclusion: Observe whether the organization actively supports diversity and inclusion, not just in policy but in practice, reflecting a culture of respect and equality.

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3 Comments

Feedback that I'm underperforming for my level. Is this PIP? What now?

Mid-Level Software Engineer [L4] at Taro Community profile pic
Mid-Level Software Engineer [L4] at Taro Community

I was hired as a mid-level engineer, but I'm performing at the level below it. I had about a year and a half of experience coming into my company but didn't get much from it due to multiple re-orgs. In hindsight, I was a poor hire for my role and have felt this way the entire time. I am not interested in the niche and motivation is a struggle at times. I stayed because the team was really strong and I thought I could focus on the coding and grow technically. That was a mistake.

Fast forward a year and a half later (now), my manager tells me informally that my delivery is ok, but the way I go about my work needs improvement and I'm not growing, so I am performing at a level below. I need a lot of help from other engineers. And that I need fewer comments on my diffs and to do more research on problems because I'm not problem-solving well enough to be at my level. He's completely right. The team is full of high-performers and I know that I'm doing poorly by comparison. But I'm already consistently overworking into the evening and weekends.

I'm also hitting the limit with my mental health. I am putting in effort, but am being told it's not enough. For example, I spend some time understanding X and think I understand it, but teammate questions me in a way that makes me apply that knowledge and I realize my understanding is not so good or I did not think about it that way, so I am ashamed because I have spent a lot of time working on the task, but have failed to deep dive into this part. Or my teammate asks me for my thoughts on how to make something better, but nothing really comes to mind. How do I work on this behavior?

Some other questions:

  • Is this a sign to leave my team or company? And the profession? Despite my best efforts, I'm disappointing my team and it's taking a toll.
  • I haven't been served a PIP yet, but is this a sign that it's coming?
  • Naive take, but is it a bad idea/even possible to ask for a downlevel? The reasoning was that I'd rather keep my job than lose it.
  • Any advice?
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484 Views
7 Comments

Should I mention offers I turned down to my boss?

Data Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Data Engineer at Taro Community

It's performance review time, and I want a nice raise and bonus just as much as anyone else.

Standard procedure for getting a raise seems to be making the case for yourself: keep track of all your accomplishments during the year so you can present them to your boss when asking for a raise/bonus. Simple enough. I'm prepping that list of things right now.

It's also been the case that this past year I turned down 3 offers that each would have paid me more than my current gig - between 20% and 40%. Now, even though I'm underpaid at my current gig, it's also the case that I'm compensated for that by it being super chill - no deadlines, lots of latitude on what to work on, a nice WFH arrangement (1 day in office a week), and pleasant coworkers.

My question is, do I mention that I got the offers in addition to mentioning the things I'd accomplished over the year? There's an element of "hardball" in that, but maybe it's not a bad move. I guess the phrasing of it is the key. So instead of saying "I've got other offers, give me more money or I leave", it's "I really like working here and with you. So much so that I turned down other companies that were offering decently more. Can you see what can be done to raise my compensation?"

Finally, I'm aware that the best way to ask for a raise is :
"I really enjoy working on this team. I want to do more to increase my impact and empower my teammates - What are the steps I need to take to get to that next level?"

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3 Comments

Feeling stuck because of the unwanted office politics.

Staff Software Engineer at Taro Community profile pic
Staff Software Engineer at Taro Community

tldr; I am a Tech Lead working in of the big tech giants, getting burnt out due to office politics and ignorant managers.

I am one of the few people (~20) who accidentally was made remote, this was the result of one of the irresponsible move from one of the tech giant.

Anyways, I was part of a team for almost more than a year and the company culture was a bit shocking to me as my manager refused to do 1:1, lack of quality work and ignorance because of me being the remote was evident.

Six months before I, including my team, was transferred to another team with a greenfield project (with little or no prior info), we worked really hard but after 3-4months, another reshuffling happened and most of the team was moved to other projects/team. After couple of months the team was finally dismantled, I thought we will go back to our original team but to my surprise, instead of retaining me, they hired two new lead engineers in their location. In between all of this I was surprised to know that my manager (previous) didn't fill my annual review, when I tried to contact him I didn't get any response. I also scheduled a meeting with him but he didn't show up.

Few weeks before, I was moved to another team, which I found was in the mid of big release. The Principal engineer who was responsible for the design and architecture of the system was moved out before I joined so there was no knowledge sharing per se. I tried to contact him but he is too busy to entertain me now. During the first couple of days, my new manager briefed me that I am the owner of this new project and I have to look after each and everything. The project in itself is very huge: It was in design phase since last 1 year, and it depends on 2-3 teams. Everyday I am pulled into random meetings where there is a lot of alignment going on with some crucial decision making as the project is going to be live in new few months. In the daily sprint the manager wants to make sure I have enough work assigned to me as well. In two weeks I am almost burnt out as I have little or no time left after hours of meeting and going through the random documents.

Recently I came to know that there will a week long in-person workshop to get an alignment on the various decisions on the current project and I am not invited, I pinged my manager for the same but there is a long silence.

As of now, I have little or no breathing space to prepare for the interviews and almost on the verge of burnout.

Few important points:

  • To my surprise my official manager is still the same manager (first team) and he has still not filled up my performance review.
  • I moved countries because of personal issues so leaving the company may not be easy as of now. I have a lot of financial responsibilities, plus the current market and immigration condition has made the condition worse.
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217 Views
4 Comments

Is an abrupt team change by management a bad indicator of performance?

Associate Member of Technical Staff at Taro Community profile pic
Associate Member of Technical Staff at Taro Community

I had recently joined as an entry-level engineer 6 months ago, and I have been told now that I will be basically working as part of two teams, with half of my time devoted to each one. So I will essentially continue to deliver some work to my current team, while learning a new tech under the same org and delivering to them as well.

The new team I will be working with is still unsure, I have been given two options and have been told about the scope of each of them, I have to revert back with an answer in a few days. I have been told that priorities might change, and adjustments will be made accordingly. So everything is a bit dicey at the moment.

My concern relating to this is:

  • Is this an indication of my current team not having sufficient work for an entry-level software engineer like me? It is a database-ops team, already having 2 senior-level developers. Furthermore, is it an indication that I am not delivering at the level they expected and hence my abilities are not of use in the current scenario?
  • I haven't explicitly received any negative feedback from my manager or my peers so far, and have been overworking sometimes. However the current change is a bit overwhelming given it is still not sure where I would be used as a resource, or if my work is actually making an impact. Also even though there is no negative feedback, there has also not been a lot of positive encouragement, it is like a neutral situation where I have been told I am meeting expectations, but it feels like I might not be exceeding them, or might just be an average performer.

Just wanted to know if anyone here has faced this before, or have any insights on this. Also since the market is bad, I am a bit concerned that this change might not be an excuse for a future layoff or something like that.

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84 Views
2 Comments

Learn About Performance Review

A performance review is used by a company gauge an employee’s work performance and contributions during a certain period of time. In the software engineering world, the reviews provide a comprehensive overview of an engineer’s accomplishments and areas of improvement over a specific period.
Performance reviews serve as a platform for acknowledging an engineer’s contributions and achievements. Positive feedback during a performance review can lead to recognition, promotion, and new growth opportunities within a company.
Performance reviews also highlight areas where performance can be improved. Constructive feedback helps engineers identify their strengths and weaknesses, which will pave the way for professional and career growth.
Performance reviews can contribute to fostering a positive team culture. By recognizing and addressing individual contributions, team members can understand what steps they need to take to be rewarded because they have a model to follow.
To maximize performance reviews, software engineers should actively prepare by reflecting on their achievements and goals accomplished during the performance review period. This preparation ensures a comprehensive discussion that you can have with your manager.
You should have also been receiving ongoing feedback throughout the entire performance review cycle from your manager and peers. This creates a continuous improvement cycle and ensures there are no surprises during the formal review.
You should effectively communicate any achievements during this time, which can include improvements made to any software engineering processes or to team culture.
Performance reviews are pivotal in your software engineer carer because they provide opportunities for recognition, growth, and professional development. By addressing feedback throughout the year, you will be able to navigate the performance review cycle with confidence.
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